Finding Gaston County Ancestors
Gaston County History
Gaston County was formed in December 1846 from Lincoln County (see our guide Finding Lincoln County Ancestors for research sources prior to 1847).
Did your family come from Gaston County? Here's a list of some basic resources in our collection to get you started. For help finding more, stop by the Reference Desk at the Gastonia Main Library.
- Search our library Catalog by Subject for: Gaston County or by the name of a place, such as Cherryville.
- 975.677 COP NCC. The County of Gaston: Two Centuries of a North Carolina Region (pub. 1961) by Robert F. Cope and Manley Wade Wellman. 274 pgs. Indexed.
- 975.677 RAG NCC. History of Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina (pub. 2010) by Robert Allison Ragan. 669 pgs.
- 975.677 SEP NCC. Gastonia and Gaston County, North Carolina, 1846-1949, ed. by Joseph H. Separk. 237 pgs. (including ads).
- Index bound separately: Call # 975.677 SEP Index NCC.
- 975.677 WEH NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina: A Brief History (pub. 2008) by Rita Wehunt-Black. 159 pgs. Indexed.
- 975.677 WIL NCC. Gaston County: A Pictorial History (revised ed. 1997) by Robert Leonard Williams. 236 pgs. Indexed.
- 975.6773 GRI NCC. Gaston Remembers: Weaving a Tapestry in Time (pub. 1994) by Sally Griffin. 151 pgs. Partially indexed.
- 975.6773 PUE NCC. History of Gaston County (pub. 1939, reprinted in 1997) by Minnie Stowe Puett. 222 pgs. The reprinted edition is indexed.
- 929.3 G NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1915, abstracted by Linda A. Bell, Colleen S. Miller, and Steven B. Painter. 211 pgs. Indexed.
- 929.3 IND NCC (1913 – 1956) & 929.3 DEL NCC (1957 – 1970). Gaston County, North Carolina. Index to Vital Statistics --Death Records, compiled by Paul H. Dellinger, Phyllis Collins Dellinger and Sue Spivey Gladden.
- Copies of a handwritten index to the records.
- These are arranged by the first letter or two of the surname and then in chronological order. Look through the list carefully.
- 929.3 TUR NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1846-1910, compiled by Grace Turner and Miles S. Philbeck Jr. 77 pgs. Indexed.
- 929.3756 BEL NCC. Gaston County Marriages, 1896-1901 by Linda Adams Bell and Colleen Stafford Miller. 130 pgs. Indexed.
- 929.3756 G NCC. Gaston County, North Carolina Marriage Bonds and Licenses, 1848-1888, abstracted and compiled by Libby Wyatt Goodnight, Linda Adams Bell, and Robert C. Carpenter. 183 pgs. Indexed.
- 929.3756 GAS NCC. . Gaston County, North Carolina Marriage Licenses, 1889-1895, abstracted and compiled by Libby Wyatt Goodnight and Linda Adams Bell. 158 pgs. Indexed.
- The Ancestry Library Edition database collection includes indexes and some actual certificates for North Carolina marriages, births, and deaths.
- Remember that statewide birth and death registration started in 1913 in North Carolina.
The library has the Gaston Gazette on microfilm beginning with the February 21, 1880 issue. However, there are many missing issues in the early years.
At this time, there is only limited indexing to the paper and/or the obituaries.
Gaston Gazette Index
1880 - 1889
929.5 GAS NCC. The Gastonia Gazette Obituary and Marriage Index: “Gaston in the Eighties” (1880s).
From 1915 to 1919 the Gazette occasionally reprinted notices from its earlier issues in the 1880s. These are useful because in some cases the original issue no longer exists.
1880 – 1899
929.5 GAS NCC. The Gastonia Gazette Obituary and Death Notices Index, 1880 - 1899
1900 – 1969
Ask at the Reference Desk at Gastonia Main Library.
1971 – 1979
Ask at the Reference Desk at Gastonia Main Library.
We also have a microfilm copy of another short-lived newspaper, the Gaston Citizen, October 25, 1951 - March 21, 1956. There is no index.
We will be happy to check the microfilm for an obituary if you have a specific date or a close approximation; if you do not, we can try to locate the required information using the publications mentioned above. However, we do not have the staff to do extensive research on your behalf.
- Gaston County Cemeteries
- We have one volume (119pgs.) of materials collected by the William Gaston Chapter of the D.A.R. in 1956 including some cemeteries. These are bound under the title Gaston County Records and are not indexed. Call # 929.3 D NCC.
- We have the records of Olney Presbyterian Church (Gastonia), 1839 - 1994 on 8 reels of microfilm.
Our North Carolina Collection includes city directories for Gastonia and other communities in Gaston County. It is not a complete collection; please check our guide to the city directories to see if the volume you need is in the collection.
- Gaston County Records on Microfilm
- Gaston County Estate Records, 1839-1928. A list of names contained on the microfilm is available at call # 929.3 GAS NCC.
- An expanded index is available online; however, the library does not own estate records beyond 1928: Estates (Includes wills), 1839-1967 (PDF).
- The Gaston & Lincoln Biography Index locates biographical information “buried” in our book collection.
See our Research Guides for detailed information on our holdings of original and transcribed census records:
- The United States Census for Genealogists: 1790 – 1930
- The United States Census for Genealogists: 1940
In addition to more general genealogy magazines, we have files of three titles specifically for this area:
- 929.1 FOO NCC. Footprints in Time. Vol. 1 (1987) – to date.
- Published by the Gaston-Lincoln Genealogical Society
- 929.1 ESW NCC. Eswau Huppeday. Vol. 1 (1981) – to date.
- The journal of the Broad River Genealogical Society in Cleveland County; includes material from the surrounding counties including Gaston.
- 929.1 BUL NCC. Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County. Vol. 1 (1974) – to date.
- The Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County
- Lincoln County was formed in 1779 from Tryon County and Gaston County was formed in 1846 from Lincoln County.
- NC GenWeb page for Gaston County
- Gaston County NC Genweb Archives
- GenForum’s Gaston County message board
- Ancestry Message Board; you don't need an Ancestry membership to use the boards.
The Library does not have any books for sale. Books relating to Gaston County genealogy may be purchased from:
- Gaston-Lincoln Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 584, Mount Holly, NC 28120.
- Broad River Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 2261, Shelby, NC 28151-2261.
- The gift shop at the Gaston County Museum of Art and History in Dallas, NC.
The Gaston County Public Library staff welcomes requests for specific information from those who are unable to use the collection in person.
NCC Librarian - Reference Services
Gaston County Public Library
1555 E Garrison Blvd
Gastonia NC 28054
Phone: 704-868-2164 ext. 2
The Gaston County Public Library cannot conduct extensive research on behalf of patrons. A list of researchers who will pursue larger projects for a fee is available. Please contact us for a copy of this list.
The Library cannot recommend or take responsibility for any particular researcher.
Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Finding Gaston County Ancestors
Revised: 17 July 2014